Japan Times JBC 116: “‘Love it or leave it’ is not a real choice” (on how Trump’s alienation of critics of color is standard procedure in Japan), July 24, 2019

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Hi Blog. My latest Japan Times column, talking about how Trump’s recent use of a racist trope, denying people of color the right to belong in a society simply because they disagree with the dominant majority’s ideology, is taking a page from Japanese society’s standard tactics of forcing NJ and Visible Minorities to “love Japan or go home”. Excerpt follows below. Debito Arudou Ph.D.

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ISSUES | JUST BE CAUSE
justbecauseicon.jpg
‘Love it or leave it’ is not a real choice
BY DEBITO ARUDOU, THE JAPAN TIMES, JUL 24, 2019

Roiling American politics last week was a retort by President Donald Trump toward congresswomen of color critical of his policies.

First he questioned their standing (as lawmakers) to tell Americans how to run the government. Then he said they should “go back” to the places they came from and fix them first.

For good measure, he later tweeted, “If you are not happy here, you can leave!

The backlash was forceful. CNN, NPR, The New York Times, Washington Post and other media called it “racist.” Others called it “un-American,” pointing out that telling people to go back to other countries might violate federal antidiscrimination laws.

The Atlantic was even apocalyptic, arguing that “what Americans do now (in response) will define us forever” as the world’s last great bastion of multiracial democracy.

Why is this an issue for this column? Because it’s hard to imagine a similar backlash happening in Japan, even though this kind of alienation happens here often. [In fact, in Japan it’s old hat…]

Rest at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2019/07/24/issues/love-leave-not-real-choice/

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13 comments on “Japan Times JBC 116: “‘Love it or leave it’ is not a real choice” (on how Trump’s alienation of critics of color is standard procedure in Japan), July 24, 2019

  • To be balanced, Trump did say the (deeply unpopular, radical agenda-driven, Democrat party divisive) “Squad” should then come back to the USA and tell us how they did, but good use of this to highlight how Japan normalizes this kind of “do you like Japan?” (answer must be yes, unquestionalbly) and no one bats an eyelid, whereas in the USA it is scrutinized, which is a good thing.

    When I left Japan in 2011 I was called ‘disloyal”. To what? Can’t have it both ways!

    Reply
  • Dr. Arudō, in this article you specifically referred to a time when a racist Wajin colleague hurled 自分の国に帰れ! at you during a discussion of school policies, and alluded to a discussion you had with school authorities about said hate speech, in which they utterly failed to take any responsibility or behave even remotely like real educators.

    The story has stuck with me for a few days now, as just thinking about it irritates me, in spite of the fact that it didn’t even happen to me. Needless to say, I would be furious at the complete irresponsibility of the administration, even though such incompetence is, in my opinion, to be expected at this point.

    Personally, I would have immediately followed up with my union to get something done about it, and I can’t see myself letting the issue go until something was done. Were you not a member of a union at that point? Was there no justice served? Forgive my prying if it’s still a sore subject, but I think hearing about how to handle such situations could be instructive for all of us.

    — Apologies for getting to this post so late. Somehow it wound up in the spam folder.

    As for the racist exchange, I took it up with school authorities, and as I said in the article, the onus was put on me to understand his point of view (stubborn old man kind of thing, shikata ga nai, ano hito no seikaku da kara), and they begged off doing anything further. My university was private-sector and had no union.

    Later, I took up a similar situation with (what counted as) a university Ombudsman, which had been relatively newly-formed. But the people on the committee also decided not to investigate further. Sadly, only one academic colleague decided the Ombuds decision was worth protesting, and those protests fell on deaf ears.

    By then the East-West Center in Hawaii was offering me an Affiliate Scholar position where I could research and write up my Ph.D. dissertation. However, despite my working at the school for more than eighteen years, the university refused to grant me a sabbatical (which we were eligible to apply for every six years). Instead, they decided to grant it to a Wajin who had worked there less than a third of my time there.

    I probably could have taken all this to civil court for unlawful discrimination. But I know how long these things take to wend through Japanese court, thanks to the Otaru Onsens Case. I decided that washing my feet of this awful place was the better decision. I quit, went and got my Ph.D., and never looked back.

    Reply
  • Dr. Arudō, you mentioned in this article about a hate speech incident in which a Wajin colleague spat 自分の国に帰れ! at you.

    You indicated that you took the issue up with school administration, who were completely irresponsible, as one might expect.

    What else did you to do handle the situation? I would have immediately taken action via my labor union; were you not a union member at the time?

    I apologize for asking about what was most certainly a terribly unpleasant experience, but it’s been bothering me ever since I first read the article. It might be instructive for us to have some insight about how to handle such incidents as well.

    — Sorry, this was also in the spam folder. Please see my previous answer.

    Reply
  • Dr. Arudō, I’ve sent through the same comment twice, and it keeps getting lost in cyberspace. Would you mind sharing a little bit more about the experience you had with the racist Wajin colleague who spat 自分の国に帰れ! at you during a meeting? Did you get a labor union involved to deal with it?

    — I’m pleased this one escaped the spam folder. Wouldn’t have known about the other ones otherwise. Approved all three comments just because.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    It’s been a while since I saw the comments in the JT discussion board. Seems like it’s much better than what I saw some years back. We always expect to see some detractors, but they are not necessarily as bad as they used to be(possibly due to moderator’s effort to sweep off troll factory, I guess).

    I’m also pleased that JBC is still alive today despite Mizuno’s dictatorial control of editorial policy.

    Reply
    • I would hate to be that elite western guy being dragged down to that level. Some choice cuts:

      “Netto …?” He gave a puzzled look.
      -Geriatric erai hito lack of interest in new technology? CHECK.

      “Anyway, you might actually like it. Parts of it are inspired by Japanese culture. The Brotherhood of Zen, for instance. They are those villains who basically do nothing, but in a very complicated way.”

      Katsu’s look turned from puzzlement to irritation. “Japanese villains,” he muttered.

      -lack of understanding of multi faceted characters but seizing on a perceived slight against Japan? CHECK

      . “Masana Maeda!” Katsu said. His eyes lit up. “You know Maeda?”
      Enthusiastic pushing of Japanese culture on the NJ who will listen? CHECK.

      “Did you know he invented toilet paper?”
      “Not invent so much as improve it, but yes.”

      Taking credit for inventing rather than innovating. Japan’s history of kleptomania? CHECK

      Katsu made a sound of appreciation.
      “This NJ is OK. He knows something of Japanese culture” as the main determiner of acceptance (instead of things like being a good person, honest, a good Japanese speaker etc)? CHECK.

      However, it is implied his Japanese wife is a babe, so I suppose that was the reason for putting up with this. Am I being a tad cynical?

      Reply
      • Jim Di Griz says:

        But surely ALL Japanese women who marry NJ men are ‘total babes’ in the eyes of their ‘loser NJ husbands who couldn’t pick up a woman to save their lives in their own countries’, because as (I’m sure we’ve all heard) ‘Japanese women who marry NJ are ugly girls that Japanese men didn’t want’, right? Kitano said so on TV and many times people around me have said the same about my wife.

        Reply
        • Either way, I am not sure having to put up with in-laws like these in the story, yet being an “elite ex pat provider” (one of a rare breed in Abe’s Japan, the real one not the fantasy), is worth the woman.
          Shades of Debito’s “In Appropriate”?
          Though as an American friend said, “I was marrying an individual, not a culture”. I would hope so, though in many Asian cultures the families tend to heavily factor into it.

          Reply
        • Baudrillard says:

          Kitano Takeshi? I dont know why he garners so much respect, and he is always Japan splained as “cool”.

          In what way cool?. Koko wa hen da yo nihonjin was the worst program ever, full of awful stereotypes. Cringe worthy.

          Reply
      • 0ldbutnotobselete says:

        I read the JT article. I once collapsed during a Japanese Summer, my JPIL’s never speak to me directly but always thru my JWife, and I understand what Japan Explaining is, but Zen is not Japanese, it is Indian. Funny thing is my JMIL will only speak to me directly when we play cards.
        Here’s a Youtube video on the subject, well worth watching.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff95twceJR4

        Reply
  • You can see Indian and Pakistani influence at temples in Kamakura also. Very little in Japan is original, even the Indian caste system was copied in Japan

    Reply

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